by Mary Owen

by Mary Owen.


So, if you know anything about archaeologists you might know that they might have one of two favorite movie series, Indiana Jones or Jurassic Park (Akko is a Jurassic Park group), both of which aren’t really archaeology (sorry, but Indiana Jones is a REALLY bad archaeologist). Jurassic Park isn’t even close to archaeology and yet, if an archaeologist tells someone what they do for a living, if that person doesn’t ask about Indiana Jones, they’re going to ask that archaeologist if they’ve ever found any dinosaur bones like in Jurassic Park. What most people don’t understand is archaeology and paleontology are two ENTIRELY different fields of study!

So what’s the difference anyway? Well, paleontology studies a much much older time frame from archaeology. Humans and dinosaurs never lived together, much to the annoyance of Flintstones and Creationism fans alike, I’m sure. Paleontology focuses on life much much older than humans, dinosaurs being the most famous example, but they are not the only thing paleontologists study. They also study ancient plant and sea life as well as many animals that can’t be considered dinosaurs. Paleontologists tend to only be able to find fossilized remains of the things they are trying to study. This means they don’t tend to have biological remains and instead find either mineralized versions (like with bones or exoskeletons) or impressions (like plants or footprints) of the remains. But like I mentioned, archaeologists don’t study these sorts of things.

An example of a fossilized trilobite.

And what do archaeologists study then if it’s not dinosaurs? Well, as a branch of anthropology, they study humans! It isn’t even just their bones either. Some professors like to describe archaeology as the study of people’s stuff, whether that’s their buildings, their possessions ,or their trash, it’s all a part of archaeology. Here in the site at Tel Akko, we mostly find a lot of broken ceramics, usually in the form of so very much pottery, though other items such as figurines have been found here. We also find a lot of more modern animal remains in the form of shells and bones.

A very small shell found in heavy fraction.

I’m serious, we find SO MUCH pottery!


Of course this also leads to more questions. Why do we even study archaeology? Why would you want to study dead people and their trash? Well, it really depends on who you ask! People want to study it for all sorts of different reasons. To use myself as an example, I wanted to dig holes but couldn’t pass the math requirement for geology. Most other people have questions about the past they want answered. Some of the questions people are looking at here at Tel Akko include, what kind of plants were people eating or using, what sorts of domesticated animals were found here, or where was the harbor actually located before it receded to its current position?

Through our excavations we hope to find the answers to these questions, and similar ones so we can gain better insight on humans throughout history and prehistory and NOT dinosaur bones!

Just one small part of our excavation.

Mary Owen
About Mary Owen

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Archaeology Vs. Paleontology or, Why We Don’t Find Dinosaur Bones on the Tel